Over 20 NHS trusts are now in a ‘critical situation’ following the massive staffing shortages resulting from Omicron rapid spread.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said more than 20 of England’s 137 trusts — 15 per cent of the entire health service — have signalled they may not be able to deliver vital care in the coming weeks.

The spokesperson stated that alert levels are not an indicator of how pressures were being applied to the health care system. It only gives a glimpse into the past. 

The doctors said that while critical incidents could last as little as an hour, or even a few hours in certain situations, they can also last for days. However, there are some that can go on for longer periods of time. These incidents aren’t necessarily an indicator of how well the NHS performs.

Although the full list has not yet been released, it is known that some trusts have raised alarm such as North East Ambulance Service and Dorset County Hospital.

Staff can be asked to take leave, or to rest on days for critical situations. If they raise the alarm, help will come from local hospitals. 

The Prime Minister revealed yesterday that hospitals across the country had cancelled their operations, and plans were being made to call the Army in case the situation worsens.

According to the latest data, approximately 10% of NHS staff were away on New Years Eve. Covid was responsible for half of those 110,000 absences. 

It is likely that the situation will get worse before getting better with an average of 183,000 Brits going into isolation per day. 

There are growing calls from experts, businesses and even NHS leaders themselves to cut self-isolation to five days to avoid paralysing the economy and disrupting vital services. As the virus continues to spread, train services and bin collection are also at an all-time low. Schools are warning they might not have enough teachers to keep up with their usual schedules.

France and the US have already reduced quarantine from five to five days for people without symptoms. Studies show that very few patients become infected beyond that limit.

As the staff absents continue to make the NHS and rail services crumble, around 1.3 million Britons currently are under house arrest.

Today’s medics warned of ‘outdated” rules for isolating Covid victims’ contacts. This could lead to clogging hospitals and poor healthcare.

The guidelines — originally implemented to prevent the spread of Covid in hospitals — are out of step with knowledge on the virus, making it difficult to move patients within hospitals, blocking discharges and tying up entire wards, they said. 

A minimum of half-a dozen English trusts have reported ‘critical incidents’, indicating they might not be able to provide vital care for patients over the next few weeks due to so many doctors being away isolating.

The number of daily positive Covid tests recorded in England has exceeded 100,000 for nearly two weeks. However, the number of patients in hospital with the virus is a fraction of the level seen last winter, while deaths remain flat

In England, there have been nearly 100,000 positive Covid tests per day for the past two weeks. The number of people in hospitals with this virus remains at a fraction the rate seen last winter. However, deaths are still low.

The average NHS worker took off 14 days sick per year BEFORE Covid struck 

NHS staff took more than three times as many sick days as the average worker even before the pandemic struck – with stress, anxiety and depression blamed for a third of all absences, official figures revealed today.

Health service data shows there were 17.7million days of leave taken between April 2018 and March 2019 – the equivalent of around 14 days per worker – mainly for mental health problems or muscle and back pain. 

According to the Office for National Statistics, the average Briton flew for 4.2 days in the same time period.

At the outbreak of the pandemic, England’s NHS was absent at its peak. The number of sick days in England rose to the top among support staff. Doctors were far behind. One in ten NHS employees are now sick or isolated – some hospitals however have higher rates.

MailOnline can also reveal that staff working at the NHS trusts currently cancelling all non-urgent operations and appointments due to Omicron are still allowing employees to go on holiday while on a ‘war footing’, according to Boris Johnson.

Both the Great Western NHS Foundation Trust Trust and United Lincolnshire NHS Trust admit that there is no ban on annual leaves, despite declaring “critical incidents”.

Just four people were off sick or self-isolating on Boxing Day. This was two days after the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust had declared an incident critical. But a further 312 staff were not at work due with other illnesses such as common winter bugs and stress. 

According to the spokesperson of PM, “We are aware that there are many trusts which have reported serious incidents.”

“I think it is more than 20, but this number could fluctuate. However, the severity of these critical care incidents can differ. Some can affect one trust and others can impact the entire trust. It’s therefore not an indicator of the performance of any NHS service at one point in time. 

Yesterday, the Prime Minister revealed that hospitals have cancelled their operations. He also said plans were being made to call the Army in case the situation worsens.

A number of non-urgent procedures at Greater Manchester’s 17 hospitals were canceled after health officials stated that 15% of staff had stayed at home while Covid was being administered.  

Matthew Taylor, head of the NHS Confederation — an organisation which represents trusts — said he would support cutting Covid isolation to five days to reduce pressure on the health service as long as it was backed up by the science.

 And Covid hospitalisations are adding to hospital pressures, with 2,258 admissions recorded on December 28, up 56.9 per cent in a week, while the number of patients in hospital reached 17,726 on Tuesday — the highest figures seen since February.

A third of admissions however are “incidental cases”, which refer to those who have not been admitted for the virus but were accidentally positive.

This is compared to the 30,000+ people who were admitted to hospital in January last year. 

At the height of last winter’s second wave, nearly 40K Britons were admitted to hospital.  

Today, doctors warned that the NHS was adding misery and “crippling” the NHS by imposing guidelines for isolating infected patients.

The current NHS Guidelines state that inpatients who are exposed to an infected patient while being admitted must be separated from other patients and kept together until they have recovered.

All patients are subject to this rule, regardless of whether or not they were fully vaccinated. The same rule applies if the patient is discharged to a care home — they must be isolated for the remainder of the 14-day period. 

Pat Cattini is an infection control nurse from the Royal Marsden NHS foundation Trust. She told the Health Service Journal that the guidance was never updated despite changing epidemiology and crippling healthcare.  

Covid testing rules could be relaxed in an effort to combat the havoc wreaked on essential services across the country by thousands of key workers being stuck in self-isolation. Pictured: A deserted Waterloo Station at 08.15 yesterday morning

Covid testing regulations could be relaxed to counter the destruction of essential services in the country caused by thousands upon thousands of employees trapped in isolation. Pictured at 08.15 this morning: Waterloo Station deserted

As the number succumbing to the virus reached a record high, there were fears that staff absence due to Covid could become just as big a problem, with bin collections delayed, trains cancelled and several hospitals in Greater Manchester saying they would suspend non-urgent surgeries. Pictured: Overflowing bins in the Walton area of Liverpool

With the peak in the outbreak, the NHS workers took three times the time to get sick than office workers. This is a difference that hasn’t been seen since.

Pharmacies have run out of tests and say it could be weeks, not days, until they got more

Some pharmacies are out of test and they say that it might take weeks before they get any more.

NHS chiefs support cutting the self-isolation time to FIVE days in case of staffing crisis. 

An NHS leader today revealed he would support slashing Covid self-isolation to five days amid an escalating staffing crisis that has engulfed hospitals and led some to cancel routine operations. 

Matthew Taylor, head of the NHS Confederation — an organisation which represents trusts, said two more days should be shaved off the period as long as it was backed up by the science.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the situation was ‘desperate’ and any way of getting staff back to work was a ‘good thing’. He said that it was a ‘completely contraproductive’ idea to allow infectious staff to return to the wards as it could increase Omicron’s spread.

Ministers reduced the self-isolation time to seven days last month, provided that someone was negative by lateral flow between days 6 and 7. Boris Johnson must now follow suit after the US has reduced quarantine to just five days for people without symptoms. 

Today, business leaders begged Prime Minister David Cameron to end self-isolation. They warned they are ‘under strain’ like never before and said that seven days was too long for triple-jabbed people. 

One in ten NHS staff are believed to be sick, or to have self-isolation. Mr Johnson announced yesterday that plans are in place to call in the Army to help if the crisis worsens. 

A trust that was not equipped with enough paramedics began to ask patients who suffered life-threatening strokes or heart attacks for a ride to the hospital.   

Former president of Infection Prevention Society Ms Cattini called for this issue to be reviewed “urgently” and warned that the rule was a ‘great driver of bed pressure”.

The HSJ reported that the issue has been raised with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and NHS England national directors. 

A London hospital consultant added: ‘So many patients are turning positive at day one/two/three/four — admitted as non-Covid but incubating Covid — that it is causing devastation because of contacts and blocked beds.

It is simply more difficult to manage than Delta because of the complexity. [high] infectivity… [Trusts]Assessments of risk and strategies are necessary to be able to adapt.

Consultant warned hospitals that they are running out of Covid and non Covid capacity.

One senior consultant from another hospital said that it created another headache in bed management because there is a new stream of patients who need to be seperated.

“This problem grows because the care homes don’t accept patients until they have completed their 14-day waiting period, which can delay discharge.

UKHSA spokeswoman said that the current guidance was in place to limit Covid’s spread to NHS staff and vulnerable individuals. 

“We will continue to partner with NHSEI in reviewing the guidance, and we will make any necessary changes.

This is because hundreds of care homes across the country have been forced to shut down for new residents due to Omicron-fuelled staffing shortfalls and Covid epidemics.

Some 70 per cent of homes run by the MHA — one of the UK’s largest not-for-profit care homes — are currently not accepting new residents, or 62 out of 84 homes.

And at Four Seasons Health Care — one of the country’s largest providers — 40 per cent of homes are not taking patients, or 54 out of 135 homes. 

MailOnline received information from sources within the sector that indicated that about a third (33%) of all homes in America are not able to accommodate new residents as a result of Covid regulations.

Under current rules, homes cannot take on new patients for 28 days after they have detected an outbreak of the virus — when two or more cases are detected.

The top NHS leader warned hospitals that too many emergency rooms could lead to overcrowding and render them unable or unwilling to discharge their patients. 

Ministers are being urged by care organizations to shorten the quarantine time. They claim it is not in line with other countries. In England, self-isolation is possible after 7 days. There are two negative lateral flow test.